Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Viktor Bout

The renowned international arms dealer Victor Bout was arrested in Thailand two weeks ago. I won't go into the story at length as many others have recounted history (see Douglas Farah and Alex Harrowell).

However, he is notable in his non-partisan choice of clients - from the Taleban to the U.S. government. Now there are rumours that Russia is argung that instead of being extradited to the United States to face trial he should be extradited to Russia. Some argue that this would indeed save some American faces from turning red or worse.

I am currently reading Len Deighton's 1994 spy thriller Faith and came across this passage last night:

"They [the Americans] are buying Soviet weapons technology. I'm talking about hardware: state-of-the-art Soviet electronics, Soviet air defence systems and advanced Soviet weaponry, and Uncle Sam is paying for it in greenbacks ... Yes, Poland is the major supplier. But other Warsaw Pact countries are also trading in their weaponry. Helicopters, radar, torpedoes and self-propelled artillery.Hundreds of millions of dollars are being shelled out ...The payments go through intermediaries. They even send us price lists. The Pentagon experts and scientists go through the lists and select what they want ... Alot of this Soviet weaponry is shipped to ok countries - such as Middle East states - and then on to the US. We have established letters of credit in overseas accounts so it all looks really kosher."

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